Ringling College of Art and Design’s annual juried exhibition Best of Ringling opened Friday night, April 21, with an Awards Ceremony in Scott Plaza, preceded by the exhibition opening in the Roskamp Exhibition Hall and the David and Lois Stulberg Gallery. The event was a roaring success, with over 450 people in attendance, many staying until the wee hours of the event.
Over 80 works are on exhibition this year. A reel of moving images, including the Computer Animation entries, were exhibited in the David and Lois Stulberg Gallery for the opening evening, and most will move over to the Roskamp Exhibition Hall to join the other works for the duration of the exhibit. In addition to awards, jurors will offer students feedback and critique of their works.
Best of Ringling, as we know it and in name, was established four decades ago in the mid-1980s, but the College has been holding an annual juried exhibition of student work since its outset. The first juried student exhibition took place in 1932, a year after the school officially opened. It was not until the early-1980s, that the exhibition was juried by “non-partial professionals,” as described by a student in Ringling Magazine from spring 1981. In previous iterations, the exhibitions were judged by faculty.
And the exhibition continues to evolve. Early iterations of the version officially named “Best of Ringling” exhibited and awarded work as an institutional whole, without distinguishing between departments. In recent years, the awards have been separated into categories — and judged by experts in each particular field.
The installation at Roskamp Exhibition Hall is laid out like a microcosm of the College, with each department orbiting the room in small clusters. Artworks with large and life-size physical and visual presence flank either side of the gallery. On the left, large works from the Fine Arts department occupy every available space in the gallery corner. Imposing two-dimensional works fill the wall space, in the form of a painting and photograph, a structure protruding from the wall creates a nook for a projected work, with a sculptural wall-hanging filling the plane of the exterior surface.
Across the gallery, four displays of movie props from the Film department’s contribution mix notes of an art exhibit with historic objects on display. Each installation gives a strong sense of the topic and mood of the film they belong to. A display of brightly pigmented bath bombs in the shapes of pastries fills the hall with the sterile yet flowery scent of public restroom hand soap. Blue waffles glitter under the gallery lights, surrounded by a rainbow of macaroons. In another display, an old-timey suit with a fedora hat towers over anachronistic technological items, like an AM/FM radio and mini cassette tapes — the kind you would find in an answering machine.
See more images from the event on the webpage.
You can view all Best of Ringling work online at www.bestofringling.com.